Located at 22 North Butler Street and built in 1903, the Lamp House is a quintessential Frank Lloyd Wright creation. Commissioned by “Robie” Lamp (1866 – 1966), a Madison realtor and city treasurer, Lamp lived here with his parents and extended family in the early years—and later with his wife. He chose the location because it’s near Capitol Square and was close to his office. He could often be seen walking to work.
Lamp and Wright were both born on June 8, though one year apart. Wright was of Welsh descent, and Lamp German, which led to a fight in school in 1879. However, they soon became friends and banned together as teens to release a newspaper. Unfortunately, Lamp died at 29 years old, but not before Wright was able to create two special homes for Lamp. The first was a lakeside cottage which was destroyed by a fire in 1934. The second is the now-famed Lamp residence.
The Making of a Home
As a “keyhole lot,” the Lamp home was a different angle for Wright. It makes the house look particularly impressive, especially as it’s boosted with concrete steps. You can’t see the entrance door as you approach as it’s tucked around a corner and flanked with a veranda. Even nestled downtown, the Lamp house feels secluded in its mid-block location. Wright installed urns, curbs and rubble stone walls to help the garden appear even more crafted and solitary.
Now considered a public site, the Lamp House draws architects and history buffs from around the country. You’ll feel like you’ve slipped into a bygone era at this impressive abode, kitted out in timely décor. To find out more, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.